Temper, Temper

Scintilla Bonus Weekend Prompt: Talk about a time when you lost your temper.

I suppose I can at times, have a bit of a temper. And when I lose it, it is often not a pretty site. I am very much in disagreement with those who say the simple act of losing one’s temper or raising one’s voice is a sign of immaturity, but nonetheless I do so far less often than I used to.

And let’s face it, there are scary ways people lose their temper and then there are funny ways. I’ll concentrate on a funny way I lost mine. A funny and quiet way. (Assuming that yelling is not a pre-requisite for losing one’s temper.) This is even on tape.

I am a big home movie person. Though as the family gets older, (and frankly more boring and lazy) there seems less and less of a reason to film holidays and family events, for a good chunk of years I recorded just about any family event. Once in a great while I would even be in the shot myself, when I convinced someone else to take over the actual filming duties for a while.

Our camcorder, for whatever reason, had the letters EIS appear within the viewfinder no matter what. They never showed up on the end product of course, and since I was satisfied with that, I was never worried about getting rid of the cryptic lettering.

Basically, they meant nothing for my purposes.

In the ten or so years of events that were regularly documented with this camcorder, mom took the video helm at least once in most of them. And for about seven seperate years, there would be a moment in just about every single home movie wherein mom would ask, (while still recording):

Ty, what’s this EIS on the screen mean?”

The first four times, I explained to her, gently, that it meant nothing. It could be ignored. The next four times she asked the question, I reminded her that she had already previously asked, and then told her again that EIS meant nothing for our purposes. After about the tenth time, I admit to being a little hot under the collar about it. Was it difficult to grasp this concept? At least one (thankfully unrecorded) disagreement resulted from this repeated question.

Finally, in a Christmas home movie from 2006 or so, the following exchange went down. My sister and I decorating the tree. Mom behind the camera.

Mom: What’s this ‘EIS’ in the viewfinder mean, Ty?

Ty: (Visible deep breath and exhale. Pause.) Nothin’. (Second deep breath.)

Cut to Ty hanging his ornament, lips tightly pursed, head shaking. Two or three silent beats. Cut to Christmas tree. Ty’s voice, off camera.

Ty: Mom, you ask me that in every single video we own. (Sardonic laughter.) I just can’t…

Mom: Well…

To read a transcript it doesn’t seem like much. In fact, to watch the video may not reveal much more, unless you are particularly tuned into me and my mannerisms. But I guarantee you that if ever there were a definition of a slow burn, it was going on in my head at that moment.

It took every ounce of my fortitude to simply say “nothin” initially, and I had every intention of that being all that I said on the matter. But second after stunned second ticked away, each one bringing more and more to the forefront of my consciousness how many times a year I had answered the very same question. Over, and over, and over, I thought to myself. It’s the same answer as in the last 45 movies. But don’t say anything. It won’t change anything, just leave it alone. Let it be. Be pissed in your room later.

And then…bam. Controlled as my comment was, and as many of my muscles of calmness I strained to be quiet in my responses, I was, without a doubt, pissed that I was answering this question again, and I had just about no choice but to acknowledge this exasperation to the world at that point. It was inevitable.

Now everytime we watch that video, we like to pause it right at the moment you can see my processing the “avert meltdown” face. And everyone, mom included, has a good laugh about it. Possibly because, after all the ribbing she took in the wake of that video and my response on same, she never again asked me what EIS meant.

So I guess, in that case, losing my temper, even a little, had a positive outcome. It feels good to never answer that question again, even all these years later.


  1. I like that you make the connection between losing one’s temper and actually fixing a problem.

    As with the slow simmer and buildup you describe above, I typically lose my shit in much the same way. In the past six years, the bulk of those times have been with my husband (the dangers of living in close proximity to another person). The thing is, it’s the biggest blowouts that have actually resulted in real progress. The worst fights have led us to find real solutions to the things we’d previously fought about five trillion times before.

    So while a loud, verbal disagreement can get ugly, sometimes they’re just the thing we need.

    • That is certainly true. My mother and myself for a time had some pretty intense disagreements. But now we have far fewer, and I can’t help but think that is due is part to how many we used to have.

  2. I like this one a lot because I can identify with the quiet temper aspect. I tend to tap/bounce my foot or leg when I’m talking to someone and I’m pissed but not otherwise showing it. And then when my temper does erupt, it’s usually in the form of tears lol.

    • Was it wise to give away to the world how to tell if you are angry? That can be used against you. =)

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